Author Topic: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date  (Read 1617 times)

Offline Halfling

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Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« on: January 07, 2019, 02:49:55 AM »
Time for a new year rant.

What is the most useless offering to date with reasons please. (this is not aimed at home grown expansions)

There are a few that I rate as substandard due to gameplay (or lack thereof) only. Theme doesn't bother me but I know it does other forum members.

My vote goes to the recent 'start tiles' from Spiel Doch magazine. Any start tile should have the different colour back and these don't, there are advertising words on the tiles and no special rules to accompany them. Totally pointless, useless and badly thought out.

I still bought them. Shame on me.

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Offline whaleyland

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 03:50:54 AM »
For me, it’s a tie between the Spiel DOCH! start tiles for Halfling’s reasons and the Darmstadt tiles, which were overpriced for three unthematic tiles that did nothing other than adding a peasly three points to a completed monastery. Nearly worthless and it’s the only expansion with a fully modern element included.

Runners up include The Windrose (boring and poorly implemented with few incentives), The King & Robber Baron (borderline impossible to track), The Robbers (fiddly), The Plague (also fiddly), The Festival (yawn), The Count (hard to remember and often vicious), Little Buildings (forgettable and not worth the effort), and The Catapult (no comment).

Offline toastytoast

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 04:03:25 AM »
I think The Catapult is the de facto worst. The tile art is nice(imo)..... and that's about it!

Offline dirk2112

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 04:04:55 AM »
This is a difficult choice to make.   I may have to agree with you because I didn't even bother buying the 2 new Spiel Doch tiles.  As much as I don't like the Wheel of Fortune and the Count, at least I went out of my way to acquire them.  We will never play with the Wheel of Fortune and Count rules, but we do sometimes use the start tiles, so they aren't exactly useless.   You can play with the phantom rules without actually buying the expansion.  I enjoy the Phantom and own it, but buying it is a waste of money.

A lot of people are going to  :(n) the catapult, and rightfully so, but I much prefer it to Wheel of Fortune and the Count. 

We haven't played with the Barber-Surgeons yet, so I can't judge it.  I don't own Darmstadt or La Porxada, but those could be contenders too. 

Offline CarcAddict

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 04:17:52 AM »
I will just focus on major releases, there are simply too many horrible niche mini-expansions. So my list of the worst ones:

1. Catapult - Why, simply why...


2. Wheel of Fortune - I understand they wanted to make roads more interesting, but the incentive to actually use the wheel is minimal. Having a meeple stuck on the wheel is more of a hindrance than benefit.


3. Carcassonne Minis - I more or less consider them as one big expansion. To me most of the mechanics were not fun, not well balanced and added a lot of fiddlines for very little benefit. The only good part were Crop Circles.


4.Bridges, Castles and Bazaars - Poor design x3. None of the modules made much sense from design standpoint. Castles - easy to miss the scoring moment, difficult backtrack. Bridges - ugly as hell, breaks balance by making joining fields too easy, ridiculous with Barns. Bazaars - breaks a game flow for a bizarre and unintuitive auction, absolutely awful.


5. Count, King and Robber - a collection of mini-expansions and as typical for mini-expansion, generally poor design everywhere. River II - this one is ok, but doesn't add much above the regular River, only interesting if you play with Princess and Dragon. Count - absolute nightmare to play with, changes game so much it doesn't feel Carc anymore + very exploitable interactions with other expansions. Cult - too fiddly rules for very little benefit, in short it should be: "shrine cannot ever be next to cloister", because generally that's what it boils down to. King & Robber - difficult to track, but probably ok in smaller games.

Offline dirk2112

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 04:36:11 AM »

3. Carcassonne Minis - I more or less consider them as one big expansion. To me most of the mechanics were not fun, not well balanced and added a lot of fiddlines for very little benefit. The only good part were Crop Circles.


Wow really?  I agree with everything else you said, but Mage & Witch, the Flyers, and The Ferries get more play at my house than Inns & Cathedrals.   

Offline CarcAddict

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 05:29:33 AM »

3. Carcassonne Minis - I more or less consider them as one big expansion. To me most of the mechanics were not fun, not well balanced and added a lot of fiddlines for very little benefit. The only good part were Crop Circles.


Wow really?  I agree with everything else you said, but Mage & Witch, the Flyers, and The Ferries get more play at my house than Inns & Cathedrals.

For me it is mostly balance reasons for those 3 and the fact that minis mix poorly with 2 evergreen expansions T&B and I&C:

Mage and Witch - Simply too many points out of nowhere, Mage is like a free Cathedral for you city but without drawbacks. When combined with T&B Builder, you can sometimes complete the city in the same turn. In 3+ players games there is very little incentive to use Witch, but if situation arises it is truly brutal and chances of removing it are slim.

Flyers - Too easy to steal big cities very easily, with minimal drawback, especialy when using Big Follower from I&C.

The Ferries - Looks a quite innocent at first, but when you combine it with Inn tiles from I&C the craziness start. Scoring the same road network with Inn multiple times can give ridiculous points.

Gold Mines - Too unintuitive distribution and scoring of gold.

Robbers - Ads a lot of fiddlines to the scoring board without much benefit as the Robber can be very easily played around

Depeches - Ads a lot of fiddlines to the scoring board, the bonus tiles are easy to achieve they they are again extra points out of nowhere.


I have to say there are definatelly better and worse ones here, but they are encourage to be played together (excepted of Depeches) as playing with only some of them will break the balance between number of road/city/cloister tiles. So in the end I eveluate them as whole.


Maybe I had too much expansions for them. I was really hyped about them when thay were announced, but when I actually played with them I was very, very dissappointed. Also, the fact that you had to get all of them for the complete set of Crop Circles was bummer. In the end Minis were one of the reasons why I lost interest in Carcassonne for few years.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 05:31:09 AM by CarcAddict »

Offline Halfling

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 07:28:02 AM »
Please tell me you don't play robbers and messages at the same time - too much wood on the scoreboard.

Flyers, ferries and gold mines get a lot of usage for me.

Wheel of Fortune is my favourite, in fact for me it is what base game should have been originally.

I agree on Catapult.

Offline marsalien4

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 07:52:27 PM »
5. Count, King and Robber - a collection of mini-expansions and as typical for mini-expansion, generally poor design everywhere. River II - this one is ok, but doesn't add much above the regular River, only interesting if you play with Princess and Dragon. Count - absolute nightmare to play with, changes game so much it doesn't feel Carc anymore + very exploitable interactions with other expansions. Cult - too fiddly rules for very little benefit, in short it should be: "shrine cannot ever be next to cloister", because generally that's what it boils down to. King & Robber - difficult to track, but probably ok in smaller games.

The Count is a very annoying expansion to play, I agree wholeheartedly--but, for us, the king and robber part of this expansion is played every game. It's a simple way to encourage building larger roads, and makes you weigh the importance of building larger cities versus smaller, quick cities as the way it scores seems counter-intuitive to the way you earn the King tile. (Earn it by building the biggest city, but the points you get endgame require many cities to be influential.)

Also the Catapult sucks. And, sadly, if they re-release it, I'll buy it -_-

Offline TheSteveAllen

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 04:23:04 AM »
Sorry guys, but I really have to stand up for my two favourite expansions namely, The Count (which I always include in every game) and the Catapult.

The reason for this is that they both change the game totally. The count from a point of view of tactically (I don't like games that rely on large farm battles), and the catapult because it is so silly and as also tactically quite fun (except for the silly catching part, which I never use unless it is a tactical move not to use one of the other three options).

I only hope that Farin can sort out how to incorporate the full catapult on JCZ some time soon!!  >:D

Offline Halfling

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 04:36:59 AM »
Got to love the difference of opinions

Offline TheSteveAllen

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 04:44:23 AM »
Got to love the difference of opinions

You are right Richard. What I love about Carcassonne, and what keeps me playing, is the almost infinite amount of variety that you get by combining official and fan-made expansions. The sheer intellectual fun of trying to work out tactics for a combination of expansions that you will possibly never play again is the thing that keeps it interesting.

If you want to be serious, add in I & C, if you want a silly game with the family, use the catapult. If you are feeling nasty and you are playing with kindred spirits, bring on the Count.

There is always something new for everyone to discover.

Incidentally, my favourite expansions actually involve using Novelty's 'Forest' and some of its add-on such as 'An Apple a Day'.

Offline marsalien4

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2019, 07:46:01 AM »
Sorry guys, but I really have to stand up for my two favourite expansions namely, The Count (which I always include in every game) and the Catapult.

No need to apologize! If it's one thing I love about Carcassonne it's that everyone has different combinations of expansions they love to play with. One I always feel bad about is that I don't really like playing traders and builders all that much, but many tell me that's a must-play for them.

I'm glad you like the catapult! It's definitely good for when you want the game to be silly, I agree there :)

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2019, 03:30:34 PM »
Thanks for starting this interesting topic Halfling. I've made a couple of points below, but I think it's important to remember that we're all individuals and it's fine if there's stuff we don't agree on. I don't like to criticise anyone else's work or label anything unfairly just because I don't like it, so my nominations may be a little bit different to some of the others that we've seen so far...

Runners up include The Windrose (boring and poorly implemented with few incentives), The King & Robber Baron (borderline impossible to track), The Robbers (fiddly), The Plague (also fiddly), The Festival (yawn), The Count (hard to remember and often vicious), Little Buildings (forgettable and not worth the effort), and The Catapult (no comment).

I like a lot of these and don't necessarily understand these complaints. In fact, King & Robber Baron is one of my favourites! I don't see what's difficult to track about it though? You can put something on the score track to represent the number of tiles required for the largest city/ longest road to be completed so far if it's hard to remember. And if you don't want to count the cities/ roads at the end of the game you could set an arbitrary value before the game starts, like 10pts each. But I think this is missing part of the point as it's not uncommon to shift your focus between completing roads or cities depending on whether you have the King or Robber Baron tile (or both) in order to increase their value.

Also, "(yawn)" is not a fair comment for something like the Festival. Maybe it isn't the most thrilling of expansions, but the ability to reclaim a trapped meeple is often very worthwhile against certain opponents, so it gives you something else to think about as well as introducing some new tile configurations.

Finally, yes, The Count is vicious. But this viciousness doesn't come out of nowhere like it can do with Towers or Princess & Dragon (the Princess tiles in particular) yet these aren't listed here? If you don't want to give your opponent the opportunity to get anything into the City of Carcassonne then keep your hand closed tightly around your meeples and only use them to claim things that are completed as you play them. I can't say I'm a huge fan of The Count but I've played it enough to understand it and respect it for how it changes the thinking process when it's included, and how risk calculation is adjusted accordingly. It changes the game a lot, but so do most of Carcassonne's expansions if you actively set out to exploit them for as many points as possible.

3. Carcassonne Minis - I more or less consider them as one big expansion. To me most of the mechanics were not fun, not well balanced and added a lot of fiddlines for very little benefit. The only good part were Crop Circles.

Maybe you don't like them because you consider them as one big expansion? Despite the fact that they all come in the same Big Box that's not really how they're designed to be played. I can't speak too favourably of Messengers or Robbers as I've never really played them, but Fliers, Mage & Witch and Goldmines in particular are great little expansions in their own right in terms of how they change the game and the tactics required to take advantage of them as much as possible.

4.Bridges, Castles and Bazaars - Poor design x3. None of the modules made much sense from design standpoint. Castles - easy to miss the scoring moment, difficult backtrack. Bridges - ugly as hell, breaks balance by making joining fields too easy, ridiculous with Barns. Bazaars - breaks a game flow for a bizarre and unintuitive auction, absolutely awful.

I agree that the disruption to the flow of the game caused by bazaars is a weakness here, but I don't think bridges or castles are poorly designed, convoluted or ugly. I actually think the bridges look pretty cool and I like the castle tokens too. Again, they provide the players with extra options that they didn't have before and introduce new challenges/ risks to be considered and evaluated. Don't underestimate the impact that these can have in games of Carcassonne; it's what expansions do!

The "worst" expansions for me are the ones that introduce awkwardness or ugliness in terms of their interactions with other expansions. And as we know, there's no shortage of these in Carcassonne! As much as I like the ideas behind them though, I think German Castles and Halflings are the worst offenders in these areas so these are the ones I'm nominating.
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Offline jungleboy

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Re: Worst Carcassonne expansion to date
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2019, 12:31:42 AM »
Interesting topic and even more interesting to see how people use different criteria for their choices.

Firstly, I can only speak for v1 expansions because v2 ... well, you know.  >:D

The only expansion I refuse to buy is Darmstadt, because it's so ridiculous to have a modern convention centre on a Carcassonne tile to the point of being offensive (to me, anyway).

The other expansions that I've purchased but never played because they seemed like bad/uninteresting expansions to me are the Catapult, Little Buildings, School, Windroses, Messengers and Robbers.

Of the large expansions (Catapult aside), Bridges, Castles & Bazaars is my least favourite. I think all three aspects of this add depth and complexity, but it seems like pointless or unintuitive complexity. I'll leave it there.

The "worst" expansions for me are the ones that introduce awkwardness or ugliness in terms of their interactions with other expansions. And as we know, there's no shortage of these in Carcassonne! As much as I like the ideas behind them though, I think German Castles and Halflings are the worst offenders in these areas so these are the ones I'm nominating.

Funny, I really like both of these. And I realise that they can be tricky with other expansions (BTW, are German Castles one tile or two?), but this seems to be largely the dragon's fault. When choosing expansions for a game, I like to pick ones that I think are complimentary anyway. So if there are expansions that are incompatible with other expansions, just make a list of these and don't play those ones together. One thing I like about these two in particular is that they add a lot and yet don't take away from the core principles of the game (despite their unusual size), and I think that's a pretty good hallmark of a small expansion. To briefly expand, German castles add value to roads (always a good thing IMO) and whenever one is laid, that region of the board becomes a hotspot as people try to build around it and the players other than the one who claimed it have to decide if the extra points are worth helping their opponent complete the castle. Halflings are cool as get out of jail tiles and anti-trapping devices and I think it's cool to have the option of a limited supply of tiles that add a new choice to the game at a point in your turn where there isn't otherwise a choice (i.e. draw tile).

On the whole I tend to have similar views as whaleyland, although I quite like the Count and don't mind the Plague.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 12:35:25 AM by Nicholas Mystikos »


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